Baseball Wraps Up Ivy Play with Harvard This Weekend
The Games: Dartmouth (13-19, 7-9) vs. Harvard (11-24, 5-11)
Location: Saturday — O’Donnell Field (1,600), Cambridge, Mass. / Sunday — Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park (2,000), Hanover, N.H.
First pitches: Saturday, April 26 at 1 p.m. / Sunday, April 27 at 1 p.m.
Series Record vs. Harvard: Crimson lead 129-113
Live Video and Audio (Sunday only): Big Green Insider on the Ivy League Digital Network — Wayne Young, play-by-play
Complete Weekend Notes
Two Down, Four To Go
This is the final weekend of the regular season, and Dartmouth finds itself in unfamiliar territory of late, trailing Yale by two games with four to play. In order to catch the Bulldogs, the Big Green will not only have to take care of business against Harvard, but also get some help from Brown, who would have to beat Yale at least twice for Dartmouth to even have a chance to extend its streak of Rolfe Division titles to seven.
Last Week in Review
• Dartmouth split the four-game series at Brown before doubling up St. Anselm on Tuesday, 16-8.
• Michael Concato earned a share of the league’s Rookie of the Week honor as he twirled a four-hit, seven-inning shutout against the Bears on Sunday.
• Jeff Keller reached a number of milestones on Tuesday as he became the Big Green’s all-time leader in doubles as he swatted a trio of two-baggers. He also reached 100 runs and 100 RBIs in his career, scoring a career-high four times while driving in one.
• In the opener at Brown, Dartmouth suffered its worst conference loss in six years — a 12-run loss which also came at Brown in 2008.
• The Bears handed Dartmouth its first loss in extra innings this season after the Big Green won their first three.
• Following Concato’s 7-0 win in the first game on Sunday, Chris England filled in on the mound and was terrific in his first Ivy start, allowing just two runs over seven-plus innings as Dartmouth eked out a 3-2 triumph.
• Joe Purritano, who drove in two of the three runs in the series finale, hit two homers over the weekend, giving him six long balls with a .536 average against Brown in his career.
Last Time Against the Crimson
Dartmouth swept the four games with Harvard last year, clinching the Rolfe Division title by five games. The first game was a pitchers’ duel between Cole Sulser and the Crimson’s Sam Dodge. The decisive play in the 3-1 win was Matt MacDowell’s two-run double in the fourth to break a 1-1 tie. The Big Green pitchers — Kyle Hunter, Michael Danielak and Mike Dodakian — combined for a six-hit shutout in game two as Matt Parisi, Dustin Selzer and Trent Goodrich each rapped out three hits (the rest of the lineup had one) in the 8-0 win.
At Harvard the following day, both teams allowed just one earned run, but three Crimson errors helped the Big Green take a 4-2 win in the third game of the series. Mitch Horacek yielded just four hits in going the distance for the win and scored twice. In the finale, Harvard held a 1-0 lead through five frames before the Big Green scored nine times in the next three innings for a 9-4 victory. Each of the bottom three hitters in the Dartmouth order — Ryan Toimil, Chad Piersma and Shane Ogren — collected two hits, as did Purritano, while Selzer, Purritano and Ogren all drove in a pair of runs.
The Overall Record vs. Harvard
• By the end of this series, Dartmouth will have played the Crimson more than any other opponent. The Big Green have won 13 of the last 14 games, but Harvard holds a 129-113 lead all-time.
• Three times Dartmouth has swept Harvard in a four-game series since the format changed in 1993 (1995, 2011 and 2013). Since 2000, only once have the Big Green not at least split with the Crimson, that coming in 2005.
• Since 1923, Dartmouth is 50-36 (.581) when hosting Harvard, including an 8-2 mark at Red Rolfe Field at Biondi Park.
• Harvard has been playing at the site of O’Donnell Field since 1898, beating Dartmouth in the inaugural game, 13-7. Since 1923, the Big Green are 40-53 (.430) at the site.
• Dartmouth head coach Bob Whalen is 49-41 in his career against the Crimson.
Scouting the Crimson
• Since starting the season with losses in nine of its first 10 games, Harvard has played better of late, splitting its last 12 and winning the Beanpot Championship to boot.
• The last two losses, however, were both extra-inning affairs at Yale, which left the Crimson four back in the division standings with four to play.
• Although Harvard doesn’t have much power at the plate with just two home runs and a .302 slugging percentage, it has been scoring runs at a decent pace, averaging 4.6 in Ivy play, third best in the league.
• The only hitter with an average above .300 is Carlton Bailey at .317, while Mike Martin and Brandon Kregel have the team’s only homers.
• On the mound, Harvard has fared better outside the conference with a 4.19 ERA overall but 4.84 against Ivy teams, last in the league.
• Tanner Anderson is the top reliever with a 2.70 ERA and three saves, but four others also have at least one and T.J. Laurisch boasting a 1.56 ERA.
• Defensively the Crimson have struggled a bit with its .960 fielding percentage in Ivy games the lowest in the league. Overall they have committed 47 errors and allowed 74 percent of base runners to steal successfully.
Probable Starting Pitchers
• Dartmouth continue with its right-hander rotation, beginning with sophomore RHP Beau Sulser (2-4, 5.71) who saw his ERA jump nearly two full points after the worst outing of his career last week, surrendering 10 runs in 4.1 innings at Brown. Harvard has rookie RHP Nick Gruener (1-3, 3.38) coming off his first victory, a seven-inning, complete-game, 6-2 win over Yale.
• The second game will feature senior RHP Louis Concato (1-2, 4.04) against junior RHP Matt Timoney (3-4, 4.45). Concato has given up three or four runs in each of his five starts, but for the first time last week did not pitch at least six innings. Timoney has been a starter and reliever at various points of this year. Last week pitched well in a start at Yale, only to be handed a loss after allowing two runs over 5.2 innings.
• On Sunday, the Big Green have the reigning Ivy co-Rookie of the Week RHP Mike Concato (1-2, 3.95) ready to go for the third game of the series. He picked up his first college win last week in a seven-inning shutout at Brown, striking out a season-high six batters. Harvard has staff ace RHP Sean Poppen (2-3, 2.58) set to pitch, one week after suffering a gut-wrenching 1-0 loss in eight innings at Yale.
• To conclude the series, junior RHP Chris England (2-0, 4.95) will attempt to continue his recent magic on the mound, having beaten Boston College and Brown in his only two starts this year. RHP Danny Moskovits (1-2, 1.80) will likely be the choice for the Crimson, having hurled six innings at Yale last Sunday without allowing an earned run, though Harvard went on to lose the game, 7-6.
What’s Up Next
Dartmouth has its final regular-season game scheduled for Wednesday when it hosts Siena at 3 p.m. But should things fall the Big Green’s way this weekend, they could have a playoff game for the Rolfe Division title against Yale, which would be played in Hanover. If things go really well (Brown wins at least three, Dartmouth sweeps Harvard), the Big Green will prepare for the Ivy Championship Series against either Columbia or Penn.
500 in the Books
It took three tries, but Dartmouth head coach picked up his 500th victory with the 7-0 blanking of Brown on Easter Sunday, April 20. He is the only Big Green coach in any sport to win even 400 games, let alone 500, and he enters this weekend with a career mark of 502-472-1 in his 25 seasons. In the Ivy League, he trails only Penn’s Bob Sneddon (634 wins, 1971-2005), Princeton’s Bill Clarke (564, 1909-44) and Cornell’s Ted Thoren (541, 1962-90).
Ivy Co-Rookie of the Week
Freshman RHP made sure that Coach Whalen got that 500th victory by tossing a four-hit shutout in the game against Brown. The rookie walked three and struck out a season-high six batters, retired 15 of 16 hitters in one stretch, and no Bear reached third base until the final frame. It was the first collegiate win for Concato, so Whalen gave the game ball to his pitcher.
Against St. Anselm on April 22, senior stroked three doubles, tying and breaking Dartmouth’s career record for two-baggers with the first two. He now has 53 in his four years with the Big Green, besting the mark of 51 set by Scott Shirrell ’04. The national leader in doubles per game as a junior (and currently seventh this year) is within striking distance of the Ivy League record of 56, held by a pair of Brown Bears.
Most of Dartmouth’s home runs this season have come with no one on base — 14 of 17 to be precise. But the last one was a doozy as junior Nick Lombardi crushed a grand slam to cap the biggest inning of the season (eight runs) and finish the scoring in a 16-8 victory over St. Anselm on April 22. The 16 runs and 17 hits in the game were also season-highs for the Big Green.
St. Anselm Snippets
• Three Big Green batters had three hits against St. Anselm — , Dustin Selzer and Michael Ketchmark, the last of which was making his first start on the home field.
• Both Thomas Roulis and had four RBIs, tying for the most this season. The only other hitter to drive in four runs was Lombardi when he hit two home runs against Yale.
• Keller scored four times in the game, the most by a Dartmouth player in over a year; Keller did it twice last year in the span of four days.
• Freshman John Melody came off the bench and recorded his first collegiate hit, a solid single through the left side of the infield.
• Another freshman recorded a first as Chris Burkholder was credited with his first collegiate victory with 2.2 innings of relief.
• Dartmouth has won the last 14 meetings with the Hawks and is 16-2 all-time against them.
England Expands His Empire
Before making his first Ivy start against Brown, junior had made just two starts in his career, beating Boston College each time. Against the Bears, the right-hander was stellar, yielding just two runs on four hits and one walk over seven-plus innings while throwing just 81 pitches to pick up a 3-2 victory.
Joe Purritano: Bear Lover
Last year, Joe Purritano destroyed Brown pitching by hitting .643 with four homers and 10 RBIs during the weekend, earning National Player of the Week honors in the process. His love of Bear pitching continued this year as the sophomore hit .429 with two more long balls and five RBIs. That gives him six homers in eight games against Brown, and two in 54 games against everyone else.
Selzer Saves Best for Ivies
Senior struggled throughout the non-conference portion of the schedule, but has come alive against his Ivy brethren. The first baseman is third in league games with a .383 average after rapping out eight hits against Yale and five more against Brown. He also leads Dartmouth with 18 hits, four doubles and a .463 on-base percentage in Ivy games.
Errorless Streak Ends
Junior had played a flawless second base entering the Brown series, but his streak of 40 straight games without an error came to an end when he attempted to complete a double play against the Bears but threw the ball away. He had successfully fielded his previous 199 chances before the errant throw.